Capital Punishment

I got an email note from my state senator this week about Kansas Bill 208 which seeks to remove the death penalty for (in part) the following reasons:
  • "Given the current financial predicament of our State, the proponents’ strongest argument focused on the savings that could be achieved by eliminating the current flawed system. According to one study, death penalty cases cost the state, on average, $1.2 million, whereas non-death penalty cases cost $720,000. In addition to the financial perspective, many compelling moral and emotional arguments were made."

  • "Opponents argued that Kansas’s death penalty statutes are among the most responsible in the United States, limiting capital cases to only the most heinous and cruel murders. Opponents also argued that even if some cost savings might result, justice should not be reduced to a cost-benefit analysis."
Honestly, I have not considered the death penalty in a while.. I sent the good senator an email a few days ago and asked why they are reconsidering it at this time.. no reply to date.. but hope that he will eventually respond.

I do wonder why our state senate is spending time on this issue.. the legal cost savings seems a bit of a crazy reason to change the law.. and I wasn't aware of a significant change in our legislative ideology.. perhaps the Anti-Death-Penalty lobby is stronger than I think? Do you know what your state or national laws are on capital punishment?


  1. I heard they've raised that question in CT legislature, too.

    Currenly, CT allows death penalty for capital offense (killing a cop, murder for hire, the kidnap- murder, mass murder, etc.). Ten people are on "death row" right now... but no one actually every gets executed. They just appeal and appeal until they die from old age.

    As a Christian, having a death penalty goes against everything I believe in.

  2. There are no death penalties in Australia. The last judicial hanging took place in the state of Victoria in 1967 -- I remember it vividly, I was in early high school and there was such a furore. I think the last states got rid of their death penalties soon after. having lived without such a thing in my country since the age of about 13, I can't imagine living with it.

  3. Great comments so far!

    What do you all think should be the penalty for premeditated mass murderers?

    Do you think that hard labor camps (i.e. chain gangs) are too cruel a punishment for such folks?

  4. "As a Christian, having a death penalty goes against everything I believe in."

    For me it's the opposite. The death penalty for murder was a command, not a suggestion, from God. And don't tell me that it was only for Israel, because it was instituted before Israel was even a nation (Gen. 9:6). Christians that oppose the death penalty usually disagree with the idea of letting murderers go free. I say if we're going to punish them, why is the punishment prescribed by God not the way to go?

  5. Over here the answer is life imprisonment. Is that the best answer? I'm not really sure. I do know I would hate the re-introduction of the death penalty (but then I'm an almost-pacifist and anti violence in general) I also don't believe you can willy-nilly apply the OT laws of covenant Israel to a secular modern state ..

  6. Besides the fact that the death penalty was instituted before Israel even existed, do those that oppose the death penalty believe that it is morally wrong? If so, did God give a morally corrupt command? Was God wrong?

  7. NH has a death penalty, but it has not been carried out since 1939. There is currently one inmate on death row for killing a police officer - the first one since the early 1970's (but that was overturned). A big difference from Texas!

    I'm not sure the death penalty is right - but I do know that I would not be able to vote for it on a jury in good conscience. I don't have much interest in human justice - it's an oxymoron.

  8. Casey - thank you for sharing.

    I was reading in Luke 8 last week. In verse 39 he tells the demon-possessed man he saved to "return home and tell how much God has done for you." And a few lines later, he tells Jarius, whose daughter he saved, "do not tell anyone what happened".

    It struck me how easy it would be for me to make assumptions about God's direction for me. And I came away from this time thinking the important lesson was to listen. Listen for God's voice.

    God may say one thing to you, another to me. His understanding no one can fathom. Peace.

  9. Bob, imho having to put in a hard days work and add value to society is not cruel and unusual punishment... it's what all decent people are called to do everyday.

  10. I believe "an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, a life for a life" was a moral restriction, not a command. Justice allows for punishment that fits the crime (by proper authroities - Rom. 13:1-5), but does not allow for personal revenge. "Vengeance is mine, says the Lord".

    Because of man's natural tendencies to 'make an example of...' God restricted authorities from pronouncing penalty exceeding the crime.

    The 'financial reasoning' in your Senator's argument is just silly. In this case, I am much more frustrated with our tort law system than our capital punishment system. The cost of capital punishment cases pales in the light of the ridiculous costs that tort cases have inflicted upon the American public.

  11. I think that Casey hit the nail on the head when he asked if the death penalty is morally wrong.

    I do not believe that it is morally wrong. I do believe that the evidence for such a sentence must be overwhelmingly and undeniably accurate and of such a heinous nature to warrant the death sentence. It should be the rare exception and not the rule.

    On the topic of prison and jails.. I have been involved in both prison and jail ministry and seen this stuff up close. I think that we need to find a way to at least break even.. it should not cost tax payers to house criminals.. work-wise I think that prison life should be a hard life.. Madoff should not be able to bargain his way to a better jail.

    End of rant.

  12. KB,

    From the Old Testament, the death penalty is completely Biblical. Even Jesus said he wasn't here to abolish the law, but to make it stricter. Thus, even as Christians, the death penalty is still in play.

    Another argument made is that the death penalty isn't rendered, but more chosen by the criminal. Essentially, they made the choice to fate themselves to death by their actions. This is also the deliniation between this and abortion.

    That being said, if the death penalty is to 'set an example' or be a 'crime deterance', it needs to be swift, accurate, and 'fitting for the crime commited'.

    With our current legal circus, it can take anywhere from 5 to 15 years to finaly render this sentence, yet they still make mistakes. Also, there is such distance between the actual crime and the consequence, that justice seems quite hollow.

    It is for the above reasons, that I have become more negative toward the death penalty. I don't see any solution for this, nor do I see it improving without increasing the chance for getting the wrong person.

    I live in Florida, and other than Texas, we execute the most criminals. I don't know if it really works, but there are some monster's (like Ted Bundy) that it seems only fitting. I believe in redemption as with the thief on the cross next to Jesus. It is said that Ted Bundy recieved the Lord before his execution. In spite of this, he himself, would not oppose his own death penalty.

    As I am torn on this issue, I say that I fall on the view, that barring extreme mass-murders with overwhelming evidence, it should be done away with.

    God Bless

  13. Your thoughts reflect the complexity involved in the death penalty Doug. The time to execution factor was a great idea to include in your comment.. I agree that the years between court and execution do not seem to be a deterrent to crime.

  14. This also is a commandment from God!

    For the poor shall never cease out of the land. Therefore, I command you saying, You shall open your hand wide to your brother, to your poor, and to your needy, in your land.(Deu 15:11)

    26,000 children will die today, 16,000 of those will be from hunger related illnesses. Every minute we sit here debating the fate of the 393 inmates on death row 18 children will have died. God has given us all the power and resources to stop the suffering and death of these children. I must ask where should our priorities be?

    We are all responsible for the deaths of these children. We have allowed our governments and capitalist corporations to deny these people the necessities of life. We have done this through our own greedy and self indulgent lifestyles. We are guilty of murder!

    God promises blessings for following his commands. He also guarantees curses upon the nations for disobedience. One only needs to look at our economic crisis to see where we are headed.

    I would strongly recommend studying Deuteronomy chapter 28.

  15. Thx for commenting roadrunner. Don't mean to nitpick but the verse you quote doesn't appear to include those children outside of one's country.. not that we shouldn't care for those abroad (I help children abroad).. just wondering about your application of the verse and using it to call everyone on earth a murderer.

    On the flip side I do think it sad how many religious folks in America criticize govt programs like welfare when these programs seem to be in the spirit of Deuteronomy 15:11.

  16. KB,

    Roadrunner brings up an interesting perspective, but I think they are barking up the wrong tree. Statistically speaking, 85 percent of all humanitarian aid in the world comes from organizations with Christian charters. Only some 10 percent comes from America's government (this number could be as high as 20 percent, if you consider that many world-reflief efforts are brokered by Christian organizations with the aid of the American government).

    Sounds to me like the rest of the world and other religions needs to pony-up to the humanitarian plate like we in Christian circles do.

    It irks me a little how some want to heap guilt on the the people who are doing the most to address the problem.

    It is like how Green Peace will picket the creation of an oil refinery in Texas, but won't say 'boo' about how the Middle Eastern nations polute and destroy the land to obtain their 'Saudi Soda' with extreme predjudice. Or won't go to the Baltics to protest the utter destruction of the Eastern Baltics by Russian commerce. This is partly because they would be shot, but it is seems so hypocritical to me.

    God Bless

  17. I see I hit the ball out of the park with that one. Anyone see where it went?

    Maybe this will help.

  18. Maybe you did, unfortunately it was just in the wrong field...rofl.

    God Bless

  19. Iowa got rid of the death penalty in the 60s. There has been some talk of bringing it back, but it hasn't been serious.

    I'm personally ok with the death penalty as long as there is no question as to guilt, DNA evidence, witnesses, etc. I've seen far to many cases get overturned because of mistakes.

  20. Ditto Doug's wrong field comment :)

    Sorry roadrunner - don't have 30 minutes to watch the video.


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